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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

TRAGIC ELEMENT IN MODERN CONFLICT
sometimes described as " Heroic ". It does not matter
whether the topic which the historian is writing about
is the victory of Christianity in the Roman Empire, or
the struggles of the modern scientists in the seventeenth
century, or the case of either the French or the Russian
Revolutions. There is a recognisable phase in the
historical reconstruction or the chronicle writing which
has distinctive features and shows a certain characteristic
fcfrm of organisation; and on more than one occasion
in my life I have found myself saying that this kind of
historiography bears the marks of the Heroic age* It
represents the early period when the victors write their
own chronicles, gloat over the defeated, count their
trophies, commemorate their achievements, and show
how righteousness has triumphed. And it may be
true that the narrative has a primitive sort of structure
that we 'can recognise, but it is a structure that requires
little thought on the part of the writers of the history;
for it was ready-made for them all the time—it is nothing
more than the sort of organisation that a narrative
acquires from the mere fact that the author is taking
sides iti the conflict. We who come long afterwards
generally find that this kind of history has over-
dramatised the struggle in its aspect as a battle of right
versus wrong; and to us it seems that these writers
refused to exercise imaginative sympathy over the
defeated enemy, so that they lack the perspective which
might have been achieved if they had allowed themselves
to be driven to a deeper analysis of the whole affair. In
England our own Whig interpretation of history is only
a development from the *' Heroic " way of formulating

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